Coffee Without Coffee Beans? This Startup Just Secured $40 Million from Investors

Atomo says their beanless coffee is better for the environment and tastes delicious to boot.

Atomo product line
Photo: Courtesy of Atomo Coffee Inc.

We've all become familiar with meatless meat, milk alternatives, and things we can't believe are not butter. But at a time when environmentalists are pushing plant-based alternatives to animal products, investors have just dumped millions into a plant-based alternative to an already plant-based product: beanless coffee.

We first covered Atomo back in 2019 when the newly launched brand was just beginning to test their coffee alternative made without coffee beans — and they've come a long way from what was then merely a Kickstarter campaign. The company announced yesterday that they've secured $40 million in fresh funding from three agtech investment firms to help bring their "reverse engineered" coffee to the masses.

Atomo boasts that their canned cold brews — currently, the only products they have available — aren't only more sustainable than cold brew made from traditional coffee beans but also taste better.

Scientists have repeatedly warned that coffee plants, especially the most-coveted Arabica beans, are extremely susceptible to climate change. In contrast, Atomo says their beanless coffee is made from upcycled date seeds "soaked with a proprietary blend of ingredients (including grape, chicory, tea sourced caffeine and other natural flavors)" which results in "a reduced environmental impact": namely 93 percent less carbon emissions and 94 percent less water usage.

"The demand for coffee is increasing year over year with climate change significantly impacting the farming regions, which in turn will impact the consumer through price and availability," stated Rob Leclerc of AgFunder, one of the investment firms involved. "Breakthrough technologies pioneered by Atomo are going to be a part of the solution for future generations to be able continue enjoying their favorite brews."

And as for flavor, Atomo claims their beanless cold brew beat out conventional cold brew products in a blind taste test by a margin of two-to-one "with panelists not being able to recognize Atomo was made without conventional coffee beans."

"With Atomo in the hands of the consumer we are empowering them to drink coffee they love while making a choice to do something better for the planet every day," Andy Kleitch, CEO and cofounder of Atomo, stated in announcing the success of the funding round.

Atomo says they plan to use the money for additional product development, scaling up manufacturing, and the official consumer launch which is taking place now. Cans of both their Classic Black and Ultra Smooth cold brew are available for preorder on their website with a shipping date of July 15. Depending on how many you purchase, the cost ranges from $5 to $5.50 a can – each of which contains 84 milligrams of caffeine. The company also says they plan to have cans in select retailer stores later this year.

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